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Be Your Own Lab Rat: Experiment One

Posted on Tue, 11 Aug 2009 01:00:00 -07:00

Be Your Own Lab Rat: Experiment One

Be Your Own Lab Rat: Experiment One

The scientific method can be broken down to four stages:

  1. You observe and describe some phenomena in the environment.
  2. You formulate a hypothesis, or best guess at an explanation based on the information you have.
  3. Based on your hypothesis you make predictions.
  4. Collect more controlled information (data) to test your hypothesis.

    Now, knowing most of us in the Fitness Anywhere community tend to be type A, high intensity workout fiends I have a hypothesis for you to test for yourself. But first here is a little background. I go around the country working with people of all fitness levels. If I show them four or five progression of an exercise they almost always remember the hardest one. And those that cannot perform the highest level of intensity strive to get there. Once most of us get to a higher level of intensity of an exercise or program we hardly ever look back.

    So here is the premise of this first installment of Be Your Own Lab Rat. Just because you can perform a certain progression of an exercise don’t be fooled into thinking you always have to be working harder and striving to make it steeper or more unstable. There is a concept in training called periodization which basically means systematic loading and unloading of training variables, traditionally volume (number of reps and sets) and intensity (amount of resistance).

    Here is the experiment. Select one workout every four to five workouts and perform your exercises at a lower progression than usual. For example, if you are used to doing TRX Lunges at a fast tempo or with a hop, do them a little slower, without the hop and really perfect your form. Focus on the quality of the movement and sequencing the body. This will provide an unloading stimulus and an opportunity for perfecting form and motor learning. I often purposely do an entire workout, Ropes and Straps: Bootcamp for example, at the lowest progressions. I still get a great workout and I can perfect my form.

    Try this approach for a couple of weeks and see if your overall performance improves.

    Chris Frankel, Head of Human Performance, TRX Professor

    Before I started working full time at TRX I taught Exercise Science to undergraduate and graduate students. I have always been a gym rat, nick named Willard in college because I spent all my free time (and some class time) in the gym. While there are different levels of scientific investigation all are based on the scientific method.

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